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FIRST ON 3: Shallotte firefighter charged with DWI

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SHALLOTTE, NC (WWAY) -- Highway Patrol arrested a Shallotte firefighter this week for allegedly driving drunk, but he's still on duty.

A DWI report obtained by WWAY says a trooper stopped Richard Paul Savage, 53, late Monday night on NC 179 near Ocean Isle Beach. The report says after the trooper pulled out, Savage "ran off the road to the right. Appr. half of his vehicle ran off the road."

The report also says Savage, who the trooper said had a "strong odor of alcohol," was "mush mouth," was "unstable on his feet" and had to sit on a truck bumper, refused to to submit to an Intoxometer test, reportedly telling the trooper, "I am afraid I will blow over. It is in my best interest not to take it."

Shallotte Town Clerk Sandy Strickland confirmed Savage works for the town's fire department. She said Savage was still on duty, and that she did not know about his arrest. She directed us to Town Administrator Albert Hughes and Fire Chief Paul Dunwell. They have not yet returned our calls.

A phone number for Savage could not immediately be found.

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